Emulators are a fun way to play older console games as well as more recent ones on a PC. Gamers have been using emulators to play their favorite games for the last three decades. Read on to learn how to use a Nintendo Switch emulator to play games on your Windows PC.
What Is an Emulator?
An emulator is a computer application that is used to emulate a different operating system or OS. Along with games, emulators are also used to run legacy software that is incompatible with modern computer hardware.
However, video game emulators really became popular during the ’90s so that people could play their older console games on a PC and relive their memories.
Dump Your Nintendo Switch Games
To play Nintendo Switch games on your PC, you should already own a Nintendo Switch and games that you want to emulate. It’s not advisable to download the game files from a torrent website. Downloading anything from a torrent website is dangerous and illegal.
Before you can dump games from the Nintendo Switch, you must first download custom firmware for your Nintendo Switch to basically mod your handheld console. Do so by following the steps below.
- Turn off your Nintendo Switch and remove the SD card.
- Connect the SD card to your computer by inserting it into the microSD card slot or using an SD card reader.
- Download Atmosphere and fusee.bin.
- Also download the latest firmware from the Darthsternie Firmware Archive using “Mega” or “Archive.org.”
- Unzip the firmware, Atmosphere, and fusee files from the .zip folder and copy them to your SD card.
To dump a Nintendo Switch game from your Switch to your PC, follow the instructions below:
- Download NXDump Tool.
- Copy the NXDump tool file onto your MicroSD card.
- Eject your SD card and put it back into your Nintendo Switch.
- Open “Gallery” and locate the “NXDump tool.”
- Launch it by pressing the “A” button on your joystick.
- When the NXDump tool window opens, select “Dump installed SD card / eMMC content.”
- Select the game on your Nintendo Switch that you want to dump, then access the game’s menu by selecting “RomFS options.”
- Select the “RomFS section data dump” in the next window and allow some time for all your game files to dump.
- Close the gallery app and turn off your Switch.
- Remove the SD card from the Switch and connect it to your computer.
- Go to the “Switch” folder and open the “nxdumptool” folder.
- Inside the “nxdumptool” folder, open the “RomFS” folder.
- When you see all the games that you dumped, copy them to your computer.
How to Use Nintendo Switch Emulator to Play Games on PC
To play your Nintendo Switch games on your Windows PC, you will need to download an emulator. There are currently two free open-source emulators that can emulate Switch games: Ryujinx and Yuzu. Both have their pros and cons, and perform equally.
You also need a powerful PC to emulate Nintendo Switch games. Without, it is likely that both emulators will struggle, regardless of how efficient they are. Follow the steps below as we use Ryujinx for its speed to get up and going.
- Go to Ryujinx’s official website and click on the “Download” button.
- Click on “Download” under “Windows” to download the setup file.
- Choose a location to save it to and click the “OK” button.
- Go to the location where you have saved the downloaded file and extract the folder.
- Double-click on the “Ryujinx” application file to launch it.
- Minimize the Ryujinx Console, then click on “File” and select “Open Ryujinx Folder” in the Ryujinx launcher.
- Open the System folder and check whether you have “prod.keys.” In most cases, you should have it, but if you don’t, search for it in your file browser.
- Go to the Darthsternie Firmware Archive and download the latest Ryujinx firmware.
- Update the Ryujinx firmware with the latest version by clicking on “Tools,” then selecting “Install a firmware from XCI or ZIP.”
- Select the .zip firmware file that you downloaded. Click on “Open,” then click “Yes” on the confirmation screen.
- After updating the firmware, click “Options,” then “Settings.”
- Click the “Input” tab.
- Select the player controller settings, then configure your keyboard/controller. By default, the keyboard is selected and configured. If you want to use an Xbox or a third-party gaming controller, connect it to your computer and configure it, then click “Save.”
- You can change the resolution of the game by clicking on “Graphics,” then selecting the resolution under “Resolution Scale.”
- Go back to “General” and click on the “Add” button below “Games Directories.” Open the location where your games are saved and add them by selecting the “Add” button.
- Click on “Apply -> Save.”
- Start playing your Nintendo Switch game on your PC.
How to Update Your Games or Add DLC
To update your game or add DLC, you should already have the DLC or game update saved on your computer before following the steps below.
- Right-click on the game and select “Manage Title Updates” to update your game or select “Manage DLC” to add DLC.
- On the pop-up window, click “Add” and open the location where the update or DLC file is saved.
- Click on the update to select it, then select the “Open” button.
- Click “Save” for the game to update instantly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is dumping games and emulating them legal?
It is acceptable in the U.S. to dump a Nintendo Switch game that you own and use it with an emulator on Windows, as this is considered fair use. However, the rules for dumping your own games may differ in other countries. Emulating games is, of course, legal, but you shouldn’t use a ROM that you do not own.
What are the disadvantages of an emulator?
Emulators have many advantages but also have disadvantages. They are slow, resource-intensive, and can lack a few features or functions of the original program.
Will emulators damage my computer?
It depends. If you download an emulator from an untrusted website, there is a possibility that the emulator could be infected with a virus. But generally, most emulators are safe and not infected with viruses.
Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Abdul Moiz.
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